Squawker Lisa, I have a confession to make.
As much as I try to suppress those memories, I do remember that the Mets were in the World Series more recently than 1986. And with next year the tenth anniversary of the Mets' return to the playoffs in 1999 after years of misery, maybe it's time to start looking back favorably on the 1999-2000 Mets. They made the playoffs twice, won three playoff series and got to the World Series. As of now, that's a much better record than the current crew.
But 2000 won't be celebrated at Citi Field (or whatever it ends up being called) anytime soon. Part of it is that I doubt many people are quite ready to celebrate the achievements of the likes of Mike Hampton, Armando Benitez and Steve Phillips. But the main reason is how the 2000 season ended.
There was no shame in losing to the two-time defending champs. Unfortunately, that team played across town. It was bad enough losing to the Yankees, but the Mets couldn't even have the spotlight to themselves in getting to the World Series in the first place.
As a long-suffering Jets fan, I'm very excited by the team's success this year. But why, after 40 years in the wilderness, does a potential Jet trip to the Super Bowl face the same drawbacks as the Mets' World Series trip in 2000?
Once again, the other team in town will likely be waiting. Once again, that other team will be defending champs. Once again, that other team will be favored by a sizable margin. And once again, that other team is the more popular team, and will have a chance to completely take over the local fan base.
Still, there are enough differences that I hope the Jets do make it, even if they must face the Giants. In 2000, the Mets were only 14 years removed from a title. The team seemed to have a good chance to make it back.
But the last time the Jets were in the Super Bowl, Lyndon Johnson's presidency was winding down. It's been so long that it doesn't matter if they are 18-point underdogs, I just want to see them get there. (Of course, the other time the Jets got there, they were 18-point underdogs against the Colts and that worked out pretty well.)
More importantly, there may not be a next year. The Jets are built to win now, with mostly older stars led by 39-year-old Brett Favre. Next year, there's a good chance Favre will retire again, and the Jets will have no quarterback and, if they got to the Super Bowl, no number one draft pick, either.
And losing to the Giants isn't like losing to the Yankees. I'm not a Giant fan, but I really admired last year's team and have nothing but respect for this year's bunch. Losing to the Giants would hurt a lot less than losing to the Patriots in the playoffs this year with Matt Cassel at quarterback.
Finally, it's just one game, with much more potential for an upset, as the 1968 Jets and 2007 Giants can attest. So while I still think the Jets have a lot of work just to get past the likes of the Colts, Steelers, Titans and the dreaded Patriots, maybe it won't be so bad to have to face the Giants at the end. Who knows, maybe the Jets could become the first team to beat one brother (Peyton) in the conference championship and another brother (Eli) in the Super Bowl.